a piece of Italy today

Let me tell you about Mary.
She and I volunteered together.
She was my friend, leader, and mentor.
She had faith in me when I didn't have faith in myself.
Now she is on a mission in Rome, spreading the good news of the gospel.
I got this e-mail today, and loved it.
It is absolutely beautifully written,
I felt like I could see what she was describing!
I thought I would share it with you.

This is just so you can get a glimpse of life as a missionary in Ostia, in Rome, in Italy.  It is beautiful here.  I think the climate is perfect- as evidenced by my street.  There are pine trees, fir trees, deciduous trees, pomegranate, lime and clementine trees, olive trees, palm trees and cactus-  all on the same street.  I am convinced that anything could grow here.  It is so beautifully green and definitely doesnt feel like its almost December.  But late at night you can still the almost frozen humidity in the air- which is probably as close to snow as I will get this year.

The Italian people are vivacious!  They are passionate.  They love their families.  They take pride in a job well done and are ever the host.  They sing off tune, but with a gusto that is spectacular.  They are always worried about getting sick- hence they never go outside when its cold, or with wet hair, and always wear scarves. 

The streets are always busy.  Markets are open, restaurants set up tables on the streets, people walk the streets with purpose or for no reason at all.  Gypies play accordians and violins on the metro.  Everyone smokes and everyone has a dog.  I love the cobblestone streets, blackened and smoothed by millions of shoes.  And every building should be dated.  The only one Ive seen that wasnt in roman numerals was a relatively new bank built in 1472.  No big deal.  Only 20 years before Columbus. 

And the food.  Yes, it is incredible.  The secret?  I asked.  Fresh and simple.  Pasta is cheap.  Rice, potatoes and oatmeal are not.  Fruit is delicious (understatement)  And gelator and pizza shops are on every corner.  Note- the Italians fold their pizza, so they dont lose the cheese.  Love it.  I dont know why, but even a cheese sandwich tastes better here. 

I love our investigators, with all of them, it seems we are trying to help them recognize the Holy Spirit and how they receive their own personal revelation.  Because it comes!  God answers every sincere, humble prayer.  I think that after realizing how few people listen to your message, just makes you love those who do even more.  There is Cesare and his wife Rosa and their 2 little boys, Pietro and Junior - when they pray as a family it is magical.  I love this little Peruvian family.  Rosa is a member but Cesare is catholic.  His heart is gold.  He is finally opening up to us, and he looked so excited to see us when we walked in the door.  Luca is Romanian.  The other night at our lesson spread on the table were Book of Mormons in three languages.  Romanian, English and Italian.  He is so close!  He just need to recognize his own faith and leap.  We just met Beatrise and Ilaria- they are from the Dominican Republic.  And Carlos!  He is Peruvian.  The more I get to know him, the more I can see how the Lord has been preparing him to listen to our message.  He even brought a friend( Massomiliano - he was actually Roman) to our lesson yesterday.  After sharing the First Vision, his friend said "Thats nice."  To which Carlos responded,"No.  They said it was true.  There is a difference."

Makes you want to go to Italy, doesn't it? :)

Love you Always,

Taylor Ann

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